Teacher’s Perspective On Hybrid Learning
The job of teacher has been completely altered by COVID-19. Educating face-to-face and creating bonds with students, has now turned into instructing through a screen and often being faced with technical issues. Now that Nutley has moved into hybrid learning, current high school English teacher, Jessica Coppola, explains how she’s been adjusting to this new teaching environment and its challenges.
With some students home on Google meet and some in person with the teacher, it is difficult to balance and engage with both groups of students. Coppola says, “It has been pretty challenging because it feels like you can never give attention to in-person or virtual students being they are not in the same place.”
This brings up the idea that even though in-person learning is supposed to be more effective educationally, is it when teachers are handling virtual kids as well? Is face-to-face learning still as effective as it used to be with everyone rather than now with some on screen and some not?
Mrs. Coppola adds, “To be honest, academically, I have not seen that much of a difference. My instruction has remained mostly the same and the skills I cover have definitely stayed consistent. I think my teaching was most effective when more students felt like school was an important part of their development. Now it feels like students don't view this as ‘school’ which is sort of disheartening because I know I (along with all teachers) am still putting in 110% effort into my planning and instruction.”
Coppola also talks about how she has seen no difference in student participation when comparing student involvement at home and at school. She says, "I don’t find that students are participating more. I actually have found that even though we are still working and doing all the activities, they are still not talking to me in class. The same students that were participating online are still participating in person.”
This also ties in with the socialization aspect of school. Mrs. Coppola, a social person herself, explains that teaching online felt very isolating, but when hybrid started and students were exhibiting the same types of behaviors, it felt worse. However, she emphasizes that it has been nice to finally meet some of her students and talk to them when they do.
Although hybrid learning can be challenging for teachers, one nice thing about being back in school, other than meeting new kids, is reuniting with and talking to previous students. Coppola elaborates, “Seeing former students has been nice as well since I haven’t seen them in a year.” With summer break usually seeming long enough, it is extra exciting to be back and socializing with kids after twelve months.
From being fully virtual in September to now progressing into hybrid, the concept of teaching has changed drastically from what was once normal. As Coppola notes, “I am glad to be around people, as this is my nature, social and all, but this is not like what I knew. I just don't think people had the right expectations of what teaching during a global pandemic would look like.”